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Lehigh Valley

DA: No additional charges to be filed in gun permit flap

DA: No additional charges to be filed in gun permit flap

EASTON, Pa. - Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli is closing the book on an investigation into the leak of a confidential firearms application. Sheriff's Deputy Darin Steward is the only person charged in the case.

It all started with West Easton Council President Kelly Gross back in March, officials said.

"She was in fear for her safety and reached out to Deputy Steward to get information," explained Morganelli.

Gross, he said, has an ongoing problem with a woman other news outlets have identified as West Easton Borough Council candidate Tricia Mezzacappa. 

Investigators said Steward went into the department on a weekend and leaked a confidential form of Mezzacappa's to Gross.

"He proceeded to remove a confidential license-to-carry file from one of the cabinets and made copies of its contents," added Morganelli.

According to officials, Steward told Gross the names of the references on the form and then hand-delivered a copy. He was charged in April with felony illegally disseminating firearms information and misdemeanor obstructing the administration of law.

"The disclosure of this information by a sheriff's deputy was a breach of an official duty and a criminal act," said Morganelli.

But the investigation didn't stop there. We're told over the last three months detectives have looked into Gross's involvement and the involvement of two other sheriff's deputies.

"Are seen on surveillance video that we have, being shown the confidential file by Deputy Steward," described Morganelli.

Deputies Thomas Bachik and Patrick Crivellaro have since resigned from their jobs.  They will not be charged and neither will Gross.

"Both Miss Gross and the deputy did not know that dissemination of such information was a crime in Pa.," said Morganelli. "Although, I will point out that ignorance of the law is not a defense to a criminal charge."

We're told Steward is also out of a job, although it's not clear if he resigned or was let go. Morganelli said there is a way Steward can have his record expunged and possibly work in law enforcement again.

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